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CFP: Performing Care

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A one day symposium

15th December 2016, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London (in partnership with the University of Manchester)

· What does it mean to perform care?

· Is caring just an act?

· Can art be caring?

· Can care be artful?

It is thirty years since Nel Noddings asked ‘why care about caring? (Caring: A Feminine Approach to Ethics 1986). Noddings’s book signalled a shift in moral philosophy away from conceptualisations of an autonomous human subject and towards concepts of relationality and dependence. Hers was not a lone voice, other theorists such as Carol Gilligan (1982), Eva Kittay (1991), Joan Tronto (1993), Virginia Held (1993) began to lay out philosophical frameworks for a terrain of care ethics which would go on to influence a wide range of interdisciplinary fields such philosophy, political theory, education, nursing and social work. Until now however, it has arguably had little impact on the arts.

Recently, the concept of care has re-emerged within public consciousness as questions have been raised about our capacity to be caring professionals, live in a caring community, or contribute to a more caring society. These concerns become all the more critical in an era marked by the commodification of care, economic austerity and mass migration. Perhaps as a consequence, there has been a renewed interest in care ethics with scholars and practitioners examining how care should be positioned in relation to issues from social justice to national security, as well as examining what might constitute embodied or affective care and how care becomes present in every day contexts.

However, the concept of care has yet to be fully investigated within performance-based scholarship. This symposium signals the start of a new project that explores how concepts of care can be developed, troubled and enhanced through an engagement with performance-based work and, simultaneously, how performance can be re-thought and re-imagined through a dialogue with care ethics.

We invite proposals from academics, practitioners, artists who are working in the field of performance and theatre studies, nursing, social work, education and other disciplinary contexts to explore the relationship between performance and care and/ or to consider some of the following questions:

· What is the relationship between performance and care?

· How can performance re-think the concepts of care and justice?

· What is the shape, feeling or aesthetics of care?

· What kinds of interventions and invitations can performance initiate in places and sites of care?

· How can performance re-imagine the relationship between the carer and the cared-for?

· How can performance debate and explore the politics of care?

· Can the quality of health and social care be enhanced through an engagement with theatre and performance discourses and practice?

Abstracts should be 300 words long (presentations will be fifteen minutes) and submitted by email to Amanda.stuartfisher@cssd.ac.uk by Friday October 14th 2016.